Monday, October 27, 2014

Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 for Sunday, November 2, 2014, the Thirty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 is a revised continuation of Lectionary Ruminations.  Focusing on The Revised Common Lectionary Readings for the upcoming Sunday from New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of the Bible, Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 draws on nearly thirty years of pastoral experience.  Believing that the questions we ask are often more important than any answers we find, without overreliance on commentaries I intend with comments and questions to encourage reflection and rumination for readers preparing to teach, preach, or hear the Word. Reader comments are invited and encouraged.  All lectionary links are to the via the PC(USA) Devotions and Readings website.

3:7 Moses’ body is barely cold in the grave and God is already promoting Joshua. How might we apply this to pastoral transitions?
3:8 Indiana Jones, where are you? Why should Joshua stand still in the Jordan?
3:9 How might this verse be used liturgically?
3:10 By “this” refers to what? Joshua seems to tell the people something a little different than what God told him. Who will do the driving out?
3:11 “the LORD of all the earth” is an interesting phrase.  What about “heaven”? Listen for a refrain in verse 13. It sounds like the ark will lead the way and the people will follow.
3:12 I wonder how these men were selected. Why were only men selected?
3:13 How will this be different than the parting of the sea?
3:14-17 Is the Ark taking the place of Moses’ rod?  Is the purpose of this narrative to establish Joshua being equal to Moses? How could the people cross on dry ground if the water had only recently stopped flowing? Wouldn’t the bottom of the Jordan be muddy? I wonder how deep and wide the Jordan would have been at the place of crossing.
3:16 It sounds like the waters were heaped up far off in the distance. Does this make a difference?
3:17 It sounds like the ark first led the way and then brought up the rear.

107:1 Is it not redundant to say that steadfast love endures forever?  Then again, this is poetry.
107:2 This is sounding like a call and response.
107:3 Note the four cardinal directions. When where the people gathered in?
107:4 If “some” wandered in desert wastes, what did others do?  Is this a reference to the Exodus, or something else?
107:5 I wonder if this verse influenced any New Testament authors, such as the author of John?
107:7 Is the straight way always the most direct and best way?
107:33-37 Is this an example of the first being last and the last being first, or rather the topsy-turvy world of Divine judgment and grace.
107:35 This is sounding antithetical to the imagery of the First Reading.

2:9 Is Paul bragging? Do you think the Thessalonians really remembered?  Would have they have remembered without Paul reminding them? By the way, I have never charged you a single cent, or asked you for any donation to help support Lectionary Ruminations 2.0.
2:10 Would Paul be defending his conduct if they had not been some accusation(s)?
2:11 In what other letters does Paul seem to take upon himself the parental function?
2:12 What does a life worthy of God look like?
2:13 Is “constantly” hyperbole?
this emphatic or interrogative? 
2:10

23:1 What does it mean when a Gospel tells us that Jesus is speaking to both the crowds and to his disciples?
23:2 What and where is “Moses’ seat”?
23:3 Can you think of any current day examples of people whose teachings we should follow but not follow their actions?
23:4 What do you know about phylacteries and fringe?  Are there any Christian comparisons? What burdens to preacher and minister types place on others?
23:5 Would a current example be the size of the cross one wears? The bumper stickers on one’s vehicle?
23:6 Where the best seats in Synagogues in the back? Where are the best seats today? Where is the place of honor at banquets?
23:7 If you happen to be ordained and/or serving in a pastoral position, how do people address you and how do you want them to address you?
23:8 So what shall the PC(USA) do with the designation “Teaching Elder”. I prefer we go back to “Minister of Word and Sacrament”.,
23:9 What can Hallmark do with this on Father’s Day? Has this ever been used against Roman Catholics?
23:10 Ouch! There goes my five years as an adjunct faculty instructor down the toilet.
23:11-12 Where have we heard this before? See my rumination on Psalm 107:33-37.

ADDENDUM

I am currently serving at the Interim Pastor of The Presbyterian Churchof Cadiz, worshiping at 154 West Market Street, Cadiz, Ohio, every Sunday at 11:00 AM.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 for Sunday, October 26, 2014, the Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 is a revised continuation of Lectionary Ruminations.  Focusing on The Revised Common Lectionary Readings for the upcoming Sunday from New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of the Bible, Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 draws on nearly thirty years of pastoral experience.  Believing that the questions we ask are often more important than any answers we find, without overreliance on commentaries I intend with comments and questions to encourage reflection and rumination for readers preparing to teach, preach, or hear the Word. Reader comments are invited and encouraged.  All lectionary links are to the via the PC(USA) Devotions and Readings website.


FOR AN UPDATED AND REVISED VERSION, GO TO THIS LINK

PREFACE: Some might be observing this Sunday as Reformation Sunday? Will you? If so, how would these Readings lend themselves to such? Is observing Reformation Sunday counterproductive in a post-denominational age?

34:1-3 Why all the geographical references? Do we know today where all these places are?
34:4 Once again, the women are not mentioned.   Why would God allow Moses to see this land, even show him this land, if he were not going to be allowed to enter it?
34:5 Did Moses die on Mount Nebo or on the plains of Moab?
34:6 We know the vicinity of where he was buried but not the actual place.  Why not?
34:7 Is there any sexual connotation here?
34:8 Why mourn thirty days?
34:9 Was Joshua ordained by Moses?  What is so special about the laying on of hands? Why? What do you know about Reiki?
34:10 It was true then but is it still true today? The LORD may have known Moses face to face but did Moses know the LORD face to face?
34:11 What signs and wonders?
34:12 What mighty deeds and terrifying displays of power? Is this verse simply reiterating the preceding verse for emphasis and linguistic effect?

90:1 How can the Lord be a dwelling place?  What does it mean to dwell in the Lord?
90:2 God was God even before the big bang?
90:3 Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, or in a more modern cosmology, ashes to ashes, star-dust to star-dust.
90:4 I know this is metaphor, but do the metaphorical math.  1000years = 1 day. What is a watch in the night?
90:5 What does “them” refer to, to mortals or to 1000 years? How are dreams like grass renewed in the morning?
90:6 Is this a comment about the human lifespan?
90:13 Is the Psalmist asking the LORD to repent?
90:14 I think this verses harkens back to verse 5b.  As the grass is renewed in the morning, God’s steadfast love renews us daily.
90:15 How many days has the Psalmist’s community been afflicted? How many years have they seen evil?
90:16 Is the Psalmist is asking the LORD to show some results?
90:17 What work?
90:1-6,13-17 Does this psalm reflect the pre-Exodus or post-Exodus period? God is timeless but we are not. May our labor, our work, not be in vain.

2:1 Were some claiming that it was in vain?
2:2 Shame on those Philippians. What was the nature of the great opposition? What do we do with this “gospel of God” when we usually use the terminology “Gospel of Jesus Christ”?
2:3 Were some claiming that Paul and his companions were engaging in deceit, impure motives, or trickery? Are any contemporary religious leaders similarly accused?
2:4 Is this a biblical warrant for being faithful over being popular or successful?
2:5 I am hearing a refrain.  “As you know” here and “You yourselves know” in 2:1
2:6 What religious leader does not occasionally appreciate praise, especially during Clergy Appreciation Month?
2:7 What sort of demands?  What is the imagery of a “nurse tenderly caring for her own children”?
2:8 How does Paul and his colleagues share their own selves?

22:34 Is the Gospel writer playing on some rivalry here? What is the difference between Pharisees and Sadducees?
22:35 What is the meaning of “test”?
22:36 Was he asking about the Decalogue or the entire Levitical law code? Was this anything like a presbytery’s examination of a candidate seeking ordination?
22:37 What is Jesus quoting? Is this from The Shema?
22:38-39 If this is the first and greatest, how can there be anything like it?
22:39 What is Jesus quoting?
22:40 Why does Jesus add the prophets to the law?
22:41 This is becoming a dialogue.  Is this question also a test, a tit for tat? Is Jesus attempting to turn the tables?
22:42 Were not all male Jews “sons of David”?
22:43 Why does Jesus say “by the Spirit”?
22:44 What is Jesus quoting?
22:45 Jesus and I are still waiting for the Pharisees to answer. How would you answer the question?
22:46 As a practitioner of the Socratic Method, I think questions are good.  Sometimes the questions we ask are more important than any answer we might receive. Why would the Pharisees no longer ask Jesus and questions?

ADDENDUM

I am currently serving at the Interim Pastor of The Presbyterian Church of Cadiz, worshiping at 154 West Market Street, Cadiz, Ohio, every Sunday at 11:00 AM.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 for Sunday, October 19, 2014, the Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 is a revised continuation of Lectionary Ruminations.  Focusing on The Revised Common Lectionary Readings for the upcoming Sunday from New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of the Bible, Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 draws on nearly thirty years of pastoral experience.  Believing that the questions we ask are often more important than any answers we find, without overreliance on commentaries I intend with comments and questions to encourage reflection and rumination for readers preparing to teach, preach, or hear the Word. Reader comments are invited and encouraged.  All lectionary links are to the via the PC(USA) Devotions and Readings website.


FOR AN UPDATED AND REVISED VERSION, GO TO THIS LINK
  
33:12-23 How would you categorize the conversation between Mosses and the LORD?
33:12 Why does Moses think the LORD will send someone with him? It sounds like Moses is reminding the Lord of what the LORD has promised. Does the LORD need reminded?
33:13 Do you think Moses has found favor in the LORD’s sight? Have you?
33:14 What is the LORD’s “presence”?  Is this the answer Moses might have been expecting?
33:15 Is Moses challenging The LORD or putting the LORD on notice?
33:16 Where is the LORD’s presence today?
33:17 It seems Moses gets his way! What does it mean that the LORD knows the name of Moses? Does the LORD know your name?
33:18 What is the LORD’s “glory”?
33:19 Once again it seems like Moses is going to get what he asked for.
33:20 Why can no one look upon the face of the LORD and live? Have there been any exceptions?
33:21 Why are many holy places rocks, rocky, or associated with rcoks?
33:22 Why will the LORD put Moses in a cleft of the rock and cover the face of Moses?
33:23 So the LORD is basically planning to “moon” Moses?

99:1 Why would the peoples tremble? What and where are cherubim and how does God sit enthroned upon them?
99:2 What and where is Zion?
99:3 How does one praise the LORD’s name when the LORD’s name is never pronounced?
99:3, 5, 9 What does it mean to be “Holy”?
99:4 What is this righteousness?
99:5 How does one extol the LORD? What and where is the LORD’s footstool? 
99:6 Is this Psalm as much about Moses, Aaron, and Samuel as it is The LORD?
99:7 Why does the LORD not speak like this anymore?
99:8 How can the LORD be both forgiving and avenging?
99:9 What and where is the LORD’s holy mountain?

1:1 It appears three people are writing this letter.  What else do we know about Silvanus and Timothy?
1:2 Always?  Constantly? Is this hyperbole?
1:3 What work and labor might the authors be referring to?
1:4 Who is “he”?
1:5 What do power, the Holy Spirit, and full conviction add to the word?
1:6 How did the Thessalonians imitate Paul, Silvanus, Timothy and Jesus?
1:7 Where are Macedonia and Achaia and how did the Thessalonians become examples to people in those places?
1:8 How has the faith of the Thessalonians become known in other places?
1:9 How would the people in Macedonia and Achaia know this?
1:10 Not that “rescues” is in the present, not the future tense.

22:15 Who and what were the Pharisees? Can you spell “conspiracy”?
22:16 Who were the Herodians and why were they conspiring with the Pharisees? Where these people speaking the truth even though they sought to entrap Jesus?
22:17 What is the trap that is being set?
22:18 What was their malice?  Why are they hypocrites? How was Jesus aware of their malice?
22:19 What do you know about the denarius? What is the irony here?
22:20 I suggest you consult some other translations of this verse.  What are other options for the Greek translated here as “head”?
22:21 What things are God’s?
22:22 Why were the Herodians and the disciples of the Pharisees amazed?

ADDENDUM

I am currently serving at the Interim Pastor of The Presbyterian Church of Cadiz, worshiping at 154 West Market Street, Cadiz, Ohio, every Sunday at 11:00 AM.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 for Sunday, October 12, 2014, the Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 is a revised continuation of Lectionary Ruminations.  Focusing on The Revised Common Lectionary Readings for the upcoming Sunday from New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of the Bible, Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 draws on nearly thirty years of pastoral experience.  Believing that the questions we ask are often more important than any answers we find, without overreliance on commentaries I intend with comments and questions to encourage reflection and rumination for readers preparing to teach, preach, or hear the Word. Reader comments are invited and encouraged.  All lectionary links are to the via the PC(USA) Devotions and Readings website.


FOR AN UPDATED AND REVISED VERSION, GO TO THIS LINK

32:1 The people grow impatient with Moses and in the vacuum left by his leadership turn to Aaron.  What lesson might pastors learn from this? Did the people think Aaron would do for them what Moses would not?
32:2 Gold is currently selling for about $1,200/oz.
32:3 Is this an an example of group think?
32:4 Why a calf?  Why is “calf” singular and “gods” plural?
32:5 What good is a golden calf without an altar?
32:6 This sounds like a party.
32:7 The LORD finally speaks up but it seems like the LORD is placing the blame for the idolatry or the responsibility for correcting entirely on Moses.
32:8 Did the golden calf represent other gods, or was it meant to represent the LORD?
32:9 What does stiff necked mean?
32:10 Is the LORD offering Moses a bribe? A reward?  A temptation?
32:11 Note that the LORD is the God of Moses, not of the people.  Is Moses buttering-up God? Compare this verse to 32:7.
32:12 Is Moses appealing to the LORD’s pride?
32:13 Does the LORD really need to be reminded? Why are the women never mentioned?
32:14 The LORD changes the divine mind? God repents?

106:1 Must love endure forever in order to be steadfast?
106:2 Is this a rhetorical question?
106:3 Can anyone then be happy?
106:4 What does it mean to be remembered by God?
106:5 This is beginning to sound like a nationalistic Psalm.
106:6 Here is a good phrase to include in a prayer of confession of sin, but how does it follow from what precedes it?
106:19 Are we to read this as a comment on how our ancestors in verses 6 sinned?
106:20 Can glory ever be captured by any image?
106:21 Is the issue really forgetfulness or is it idolatry?
106:22 What were the works in the land of Ham?
106:23 Is Moses an illustration of what it means to “stand in the breach”? Who created the breach and how?

4:1 I hate it when a Reading begins with “therefore” because we are not hearing what came before. How and why are the Philippians Paul’s “joy and crown”?
4:2 If Euodia and Syntyche are conflicted, it seems Paul is not taking sides.
4:3 Whom is Paul addressing as “my loyal companion”?  What does this verse possible say about women serving as leaders in the early church?  Is “The Book of Life” available from Amazon.com and/or available for download on a kindle? Of all Paul’s coworkers, why are only Euddia, Syntyche, and Clement named?
4:4 This is surely an often quoted verse but usually out of context.
4:5 What does letting your gentleness be known have to do with the Lord being near?
4:6 Does the advice of this verse depend on the fact that “The Lord is near” or is this advice good anytime?
4:7 What do you understand the peace of God to be?
4:8 This is quite a list of adjectives. What are you thinking about right now?
4:9 What do you think the Philippians learned, received, heard, and saw?

22:1 In seems the author is aware that Jesus often spoke in parables.
22:2 Here is “a kingdom parable”.  Must we equate the king with God and the son with Jesus?
22:3 How do we deal with slave language with all its connotations? How is this parable similar to the parable in Matthew 21:33-46 from last week?
22:4 Any connection between the “oxen” and “calves” of this passage and Exodus 32:1-14 is purely coincidental.
22:5 What does it mean to “make light of” something?
22:6 Once again, see Matthew 21:22-46.
22:7 Was the King’s response a reasonable one?
22:8 Why I am thinking of Wayne’s World?
22:9 If the city was burned (22:7), who would be hanging out on the main streets?
22:10 So the kingdom of God is filled with both good and bad?
22:11 What is a wedding robe?
22:12 I think he should have answered “Your slaves invited me and I was gathered in with everyone else here”.
22:13 I know this is only a parable, but still, this seems like harsh punishment simply for showing up at a royal wedding underdressed.  What do you think?
22:14 What is the difference between being “called” and “chosen”.  Some Presbyterians might read this as “many are cold but few are frozen.”

ADDENDUM

I am currently serving at the Interim Pastor of The Presbyterian Church of Cadiz, worshiping at 154 West Market Street, Cadiz, Ohio, every Sunday at 11:00 AM. Please like The Presbyterian Church of Cadiz on Facebook.